Very funny, Mr. President, but tomorrow is April Fool’s, not today. We can’t imagine that you’d go back on your promise to keep the moratorium on offshore drilling.
President Obama announced today that he will open much of the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to offshore drilling. This includes areas that were previously protected and fragile Arctic ecosystems – places where it’s unnecessary and destructive to drill, but it seems that the President must know that.
I say that because I remember the speech Obama gave during the 2008 campaign in Florida. He was attacking Senator McCain’s proposal to expand offshore drilling, and he said, “It would have long-term consequences for our coastlines but no short-term benefits since it would take at least ten years to get any oil… It will take a generation to reach full production…When I’m President I intend to keep in place the moratorium here in Florida and around the country.”
We could only hope he would become President so we could keep the moratorium. Yet, now that he is the President, a moratorium is far from guaranteed. In today’s speech, Obama seems to be going in the opposite direction:
"Today we’re announcing the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration – but in ways that balance the need to harness domestic energy resources and the need to protect America’s natural resources.” “My administration will consider potential new areas for development in the mid and south Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, while studying and protecting sensitive areas in the Arctic."
"This announcement is part of a broader strategy that will move us from an economy that runs on fossil fuels and foreign oil to one that relies more on homegrown fuels and clean energy."
Oceana disagrees. We can not afford an ‘all of the above’ approach. Expanded offshore drilling will compete with the development of offshore wind for resources like investments, installation ships, technology and maritime expertise, making both oil and wind more expensive and slower to market.
Instead of setting up a competition that will cost us time and money, we should prioritize our energy options and invest our resources in renewables like offshore wind because it offers us more benefits in the long run.
Sadly, we are told this is not an April Fool, so we need your help. Let’s remind Obama to keep his promise. Take action now and let him know that offshore drilling is not the way to energy security.
[Jackie Savitz is a senior campaign manager at Oceana.]